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London theatre reviews

Read through our latest London theatre reviews and find out what our theatre team made of the city's new openings

Faith Healer

Brian Friel’s masterpiece about a man with an unreliable gift was once called a ‘non-play’. It’s not the sexiest poster quote, but you get what the critic meant...

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Donmar Warehouse , Covent Garden Until Saturday August 20 2016

The Truth

This is the third play by the dazzling young French playwright Florian Zeller (‘The Father’, ‘The Mother’) to be staged in London in less than two years – and the third to be translated by British writer Christopher Hampton...

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Wyndham's Theatre , Covent Garden Until Saturday September 3 2016

The Shadow King

Banished Edgar leads blind Gloucester by clacking two boomerangs and evil Edmund threatens to throw his parent to the dingoes in this Aboriginal remake of ‘King Lear’…

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Barbican Centre , Barbican Until Saturday July 2 2016

Macbeth

Dismembered limbs, ghostly chanting, smoke, and an unearthly soundtrack of bells: director Iqbal Khan has pretty much nailed the Scottish Play’s famous witches scene…

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Shakespeare's Globe , South Bank Sunday July 3 2016 - Saturday October 1 2016

Henry V

Henry V? Played by… a lady??? Well yes: this is London 2016, where women play all sorts of Shakespearean roles – Glenda Jackson returns to the stage in November to play King Lear, while Phyllida Lloyd brings her prison-set all-female-cast trilogy of ‘Julius Caesar’, ‘Henry IV’ and ‘The Tempest’ for a rep season at the King’s Cross Theatre.

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Regent's Park Open Air Theatre , Regent's Park Until Saturday July 9 2016

Barbu

‘Barbu’ literally means ‘bearded’ in French. It’s a playful title for a show packed with follicularly bountiful circus performers, and serves as a punchline more than once…

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London Wonderground , South Bank Until Sunday September 25 2016

Wild

Is Mike Bartlett trolling us? Having delivered an actual proper magnum opus with 2014's ‘King Charles III’, then followed up with last year’s big telly hit 'Doctor Foster’, the mercurial playwright can pretty much do what he wants…

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Hampstead Theatre , Swiss Cottage Until Saturday July 16 2016

Aladdin

They don’t really have pantomimes in the US, which may explain why the creatives behind this hit Broadway adaptation of Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ made a pantomime, probably without realising…

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Prince Edward Theatre , Soho Until Saturday February 11 2017

The Donkey Show

This smash off-Broadway oddity is approaching its twentieth anniversary, and it’s back in London with an explosion of glitter cannons, gyrating booties and disco bangers…

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Proud Camden , Primrose Hill Until Sunday August 21 2016

Karagula

A lot of Philip Ridley’s recent work has been short one- or two-handers – twisted parables on modern life that have the rhythm of trampled fairytales…

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Secret Location , Soho Until Saturday July 9 2016

Richard III

Almeida boss Rupert Goold is a dastardly, swaggering showman whose most recent foray into Shakespeare – ‘The Merchant of Venice’, set in Las Vegas – was him at his divisive, OTT best…

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Almeida Theatre , Barnsbury Until Saturday August 6 2016

Soul

Hang on, a show about Marvin Gaye with no Marvin Gaye songs in it? What’s going on, you may well ask…

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Hackney Empire , Hackney Until Sunday July 3 2016

Titanic

Critics' choice

I think it’s probably fair to say that the last time I was on the verge of tears at the Charing Cross Theatre, it was because I was really sad that I was in the Charing Cross Theatre…

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Charing Cross Theatre , Covent Garden Until Saturday August 6 2016

Faith Healer

Brian Friel’s masterpiece about a man with an unreliable gift was once called a ‘non-play’. It’s not the sexiest poster quote, but you get what the critic meant...

Read more
Donmar Warehouse , Covent Garden Until Saturday August 20 2016

The Truth

This is the third play by the dazzling young French playwright Florian Zeller (‘The Father’, ‘The Mother’) to be staged in London in less than two years – and the third to be translated by British writer Christopher Hampton...

Read more
Wyndham's Theatre , Covent Garden Until Saturday September 3 2016

Titanic

Critics' choice

I think it’s probably fair to say that the last time I was on the verge of tears at the Charing Cross Theatre, it was because I was really sad that I was in the Charing Cross Theatre…

Read more
Charing Cross Theatre , Covent Garden Until Saturday August 6 2016

The Deep Blue Sea

Critics' choice

Terence Rattigan’s rehabilitation from ‘Noël Coward’s cheesy mate’ to ‘the English Chekhov’ started on the Lyttelton stage with the NT’s devastating, Cumberbatch-starring 2010 production of ‘After the Dance’…

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National Theatre , South Bank Until Wednesday August 17 2016

The Taming of the Shrew

Critics' choice

You may have heard of William Shakespeare, he’s quite famous. But does that mean we should stick his plays on stages in 2016 even if they are sexist relics? 

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Shakespeare's Globe , South Bank Until Saturday August 6 2016

Cuttin' It

Critics' choice

There’s something off-puttingly literal in calling a play about female genital mutilation ‘Cuttin’ It’…

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Royal Court Theatre , Belgravia Until Saturday July 30 2016

The Threepenny Opera

Critics' choice

This is a bit more bloody like it. For me, the only blot on the record of new-ish National Theatre boss Rufus Norris is the disproportionate amount of his first year spent tinkering with Damon Albarn’s not-very-good musical ‘Wonder.land’…

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National Theatre, Olivier , South Bank Until Thursday September 1 2016

A View from Islington North

Critics' choice

Now, this’ll light a fire in your belly. There’s something refreshingly old-school about this – five short political satires, including a premiere by David Hare, brought together by touring theatre company Out of Joint into a punchy evening of unabashedly left-wing railing against a Tory-run Britain…

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Arts Theatre , Covent Garden Until Saturday July 2 2016

Blue/Orange

Critics' choice

Joe Penhall’s ‘Blue/Orange’ is the defining play of the New Labour era, a dark satire on the bureaucratisation of culture and abuse of political correctness…

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Young Vic , Southwark Until Saturday July 2 2016

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Critics' choice

‘Did Emma Rice send you?’ spits Lucy Thackeray’s Tina Quince as Margaret Ann Bain’s Philostrate tries to confiscate her tambourine. ‘I’ll have you know this was given to me by Mark Rylance’. For all the blithe interviews in which new Globe boss Rice – the theatre’s third leader after Rylance and Dominic Dromgoole – has said how little she knows about Shakespeare, let’s make one thing clear: she knows exactly what she’s doing…

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Shakespeare's Globe , South Bank Saturday July 2 2016 - Sunday September 11 2016

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